Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Non-Fan and Fan's Guide to the Formula 1 British Grand Prix: Three Days At Silverstone

by Tim Bustin

Part 3: Sunday – the Red Arrows, an F1 poem (bottom of article), and race day

Red Arrows being generally awesome
Sunday fast approached, and we headed straight to our seats upon arrival. We were sat two corners before the pit straight and had great views of a long straight, leading into the two corners and then the start of the pit straight. We saw GP2, GP3 and Porsche racing. Before F1 racing started, the drivers parade lap proved enjoyable, with Hamilton leaving the float very near to us to throw signed hats to the crowd (I suddenly felt as though I had somewhat wasted my dad’s money on the hat I wore). There was a Red Arrows display to enjoy, a marching band, and then before we knew it the formation lap had happened and the lights were flashing for the start of the 2014 British Gran Prix.

Shame it only lasted a lap. In less than two minutes, Hamilton had moved up to fourth (from 6th), Vettel was 5th (down from second), Button was up to second and a Ferrari and Williams collided, causing the race to be postponed for an hour. So yet more waiting. I decided to run to the pit straight to get photos of the cars (I was already tired from running earlier when I had been participant in a pesky queue for ice cream and nearly missed the start) and added to my great collection of blurry or far off photos from the weekend. 

Race day – we could see a lot more than this photo shows 
(also note the two most adorable Hamilton fans bottom left, 
who were very generous with the use of my binoculars)
Eventually, the race restarted - and what a race it was. Hamilton made light work of the two McLarens ahead and was soon hunting Rosberg’s tail. Every time Hamilton, Button or Chilton passed, the entire stand would start applauding (this essentially led to three continuous Mexican clapping waves following each driver around the circuit, with a smaller one for the remaining Williams car (I would give a timid clap to Riccardo, who I personally think is a cheerful and talented bloke)). Hamilton was on the verge of catching when Rosberg made his first pit stop. When Hamilton didn’t pit, it became clear they were on different strategies (the restart had affected tyre strategies). With the crowd behind him, Button fended off Alonso, though Alonso had to take a five-second stop and go penalty, so eventually fought a losing battle with Vettel for 5th. The Williams car (Bottas) was making great progress, but up ahead Hamilton was being caught by Rosberg. Until Rosberg had a failure (no menace implied, but it is kinda his turn). From here, Hamilton had a home run to the end, with a staggering drive from the Williams making second and Button just failing to beat Riccardo to third on the last lap.

The podium after the race - David Coulthard interviewing
We were allowed onto the track to view the podium and interviews, with chants of “Lewis, Lewis!” rippling through the air. Hamilton is now safely back in the fight for the championship, trailing just 4 points behind Rosberg. With elation in my heart, and a piece of tyre rubber from the track in my pocket, we set off home, which turned out to be a stupidly long journey, but gave me chances to annoy my dad with epic retellings of the race highlights and regurgitating totally-not-boring statistics (e.g. Lewis now has more race wins than any other British driver except Nigel Mansell. How interesting!)

So, to all you people who say that Formula 1 is simply cars going around a ginormous circle for two hours, well yes, you have a point. But being there, seeing the race for real, joining in with the thousands of screaming, clapping and chanting (though all mostly with a little dignity) is an experience to at least enjoy once in your lifetime. 

Possibly my favourite banner
What with Formula 1 being the world’s most expensive sport, containing the greatest drivers, engineers, designers and managers across the globe, it is an innovative and fascinating sport (even if, like me, the mechanics of a car again have you reaching for those cyanide pills). There are a great deal of factors to consider in even just one race alone, from tyre choice, car aerodynamics, the Drag Reduction System, ERS, track conditions, car setup and so on so on, and that’s without the drivers. If you’re going to watch a sport, I would honestly recommend Formula 1. It’s not much commitment to be honest – it’s only on every other week, and then only for 2 hours (1 hour 20 with highlights). But, more importantly, it is at the forefront of modern car designs, and what is new today for an F1 car may well become standard for us in our road cars tomorrow. And now, for any F1 fans amongst you, a Formula 1 poem/song lyric – originally written for that awesome rock band I’m in (we’re now called Act Casual – because every good band needs to go through at least four name changes) but alas, it was rejected. So hopefully you guys can enjoy it instead (it’s based around Timo because I was often nicknamed that at school – shame that when it came to driving he wasn’t - what’s the word? - good):

I Miss Timo Glock

The year’s 2014

Alterations to every single team

It’s still the same old machine

Just a little less engine scream

Bookies have Mercedes tipped

Red Bull’s wings have been clipped

Ferrari can no longer cheat to the top

McLaren, Williams out of their pit stop

I miss Timo Glock

Okay, so maybe you sucked

But in a better team – world champion!

Me and Hamilton love ya

Who out there could touch ya?

Lewis is the coolest cat

Yay! Kobayashi’s back

Webber’s undergone a magic spell

And transformed into Daniel Riccardo

Maldonado’s got a drive in Wacky Races

Wait, that’s a lie, they thought he was too dangerous

Turns out money’s the greatest ever driver

Just looked what happened to poor Paul di Resta

I miss Timo Glock

Okay, so maybe you sucked

But in a better team – world champion!

Me and Hamilton love ya

Who out there could touch ya?

Rosberg deserves his Oscar

Chilton’s the reliable driver

Vettel’s now Mr. Grumpypants

Always less loved than his Australian counterparts

Raikkonen couldn’t care about the season

Come on McLaren, please push the Button

Danii Kyvat and Kevin Magnuessen

Out to make an impressive impression

I miss Timo Glock

Okay, so maybe you sucked

But in a better team – world champion!

Me and Hamilton love ya

Who out there could touch ya?

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